Stable Rejoices Once Emergency Gains Randwick Highway Start

“That’s great – you beauty!”

That was the reaction of regional training great Barb Joseph when informed the flying Zouatica had just gained a start as an emergency into Saturday’s Royal Randwick TAB Highway Plate.

“When they keep winning so easily, you don’t know how good they might be; it would have been just cruel to be balloted out or not get a scratching,” added Barb, babysitting grandkids on her Bombala farm.

Zouatica cruises home for Shaun Guymer at Nowra. Image by Bradley Photographers

From a perfect barrier two in a capacity field, Zouatica is now the $4.60 TAB favourite (in from $5.50).

The Zoustar three-year-old has never been led, with the acceleration and form to take no end of catching in a strong Class 3, 1500m Plate with 59kg for Shaun Guymer.

Guymer rode the gelding for a scintillating third win, by four lengths backed from $1.80 to $1.50 at Nowra recently.

Zouatica’s only defeat this prep was narrowly by unbeaten Sister Moon at Wagga Wagga before she bolted in a Highway, then to rated a leading The Kosciuszko contender.

Sister Moon, like Zouatica had previously been balloted out of Highways with the restrictions on ACT stables. They have won seven races between them from just nine starts.

“That acceleration to put lengths on them when he lets down and is still learning.

“Keith Dryden’s mare (Sister Moon) is the same and she only just beat him after he drew wide, had to be used up and over-raced. Then he was climbing and over-racing but is more tractable now.”

Aside there’s been a change of riding plans by Barb and her training sons Paul and Matt: “We expected that weight, so intended to claim with young Stanley (Jett), won so well on him at Queanbeyan but he got suspended.

“We didn’t want another jockey change, coming to town for an important race, so we retained Shaun. He understands this horse, gets him relaxed and running, from the inside gate, we should lead again and 1500m no probs.”

The stable considers Tim Donnelly’s equal topweight Cliff House ($5) hardest to beat with long-time stable ally Danny Beasley.

However, a big improver will be Bathurst’s Life Well Lived ($15) on the comeback after throat surgery. His second-up run in a recent Highway was “next time” and he’s one galloper who will appreciate out to 1500m on the big track.

– Racing NSW

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